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We are pleased to announce our first fundraiser for 2018, in conjunction with Toronto Musical Concerts, is scheduled for March 16th  and 17th starting 7:30pm at Eastminster United Church (310 Danforth Avenue)

Proceeds from March 16th will go to fulfilling CSSN’s mandate to reduce youth violence in schools and communities, as well as increase youth safety, empowerment, and well-being. It endeavors to achieve these goals by delivering a variety of targeted programs such as workshops and coaching for students, teachers, and administrators. We also provide programs in regard to youth empowerment and leadership. A few of CSSN’s programs include Cyberbullying Hackathons, LGBTQ Think Tanks, and SHE leadership programs. CSSN receives no government funding and we can only achieve our goals through fund-raising activities such as the exciting one we have planned for March 16.

Toronto Musical Concerts (TMC) is a dynamic, not-for-profit, professional musical theatre collective. Our mandate includes a commitment to the artistry of musical theatre: presenting high-quality and entertaining concert productions; producing cutting-edge works; developing emerging talents and new audiences, and providing educational opportunities and community outreach through the performing arts.

The event is the funny and witty musical comedy Company, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six. It was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. The cost for this very entertaining evening is a real steal- just $25.00.

COMPANY In Concert features professional musical theatre talents: Kevin Achiele (Paul); AJ Bridel (Marta); Lawrence Cotton (Larry); Donna Garner (Joanne); Ryan Kelly (David); Lisa Kisch (Jenny); Lizzie Kurtz (Amy); David Lopez (Peter); Marisa McIntyre (April); Anwyn Musico (Susan); Leah Oster (Kathy); Sarah Strange (Sarah); Geoffrey Tyler (Bobby); Christopher Wilson (Harry); and is musically directed by Scott Christian (piano).

Tickets: $25 (General Admission), $20 (Students / Seniors / Arts Workers)

Advance purchase: Click here to buy tickets!

Further information: 647-298-9338


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On February 24, 2017, educators from the GTA came together for our 20/20 Conference. Digital citizenship, diversity & inclusion, and health & wellness were all topics to be discussed through workshops and keynote speakers. The diverse topics were meant to create innovative ideas that can be brought back to classroom. Walking through each room established how interactive workshops can be building blocks to building safer schools and communities.

Jamie Mitchell led Workshop 1A How to Create 21st Century Classroom Norms. By showing how important it is to be digitally competent, educators discussed the importance of teaching students appropriate behaviour on the internet. As the world moves into a strong technological era, it is crucial that there is comprehensive understanding of the written and unspoken rules of the internet.

Ms. Lorraine Bailey-Wallace, Ms. Talcia Richards, and Ms. Nikki Silvera led Workshop 1D on Building Sustainability for Mental Health and Wellness in you school community. With the stigma surrounding mental health still working to be broken down in today’s society, the workshop intended to provide strategies and resources for educators to ensure the well-being of students at their schools. The initiatives will bring new insight to a previously ignored topic.

Aaron Cowan & Amy Yanover presented Workshop 1E on the Positive Spaces Day: Building School-Wide Inclusion & Empowerment. Bullying prevention strategies aim to build an inclusive environment that will empower students to reach their full potential. Sharing experiences and learning what works as opposed to what doesn’t is a good way to move forward.

Dean Barnes hosted Workshop 2A Supporting Student to be Healthy in Mind, Body, and Heart. This interactive workshop aimed to share positive experiences from the collaboration of students, staff, and parents on the topic of wellness. The implementation of Wellness Wednesday have made a huge impact on the school’s comprehensive approach to building a healthy mind, body, and heart.

Rebecca Katz presented Workshop 2C Lessons for Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship from Online Media Fandom. Fan communities have become an internet phenomena that foster creative fiction, art, and video. Art and ideas can be shared at a faster rate than ever before which means that we have to adapt to the possible consequences. Students must learn digital citizenship as part of their new curriculum.

Tina Vankuren hosted Workshop 2D The Therapeutic Benefits of Humour in Education. Humour is an important part of mental health and wellness. This workshop focused on getting educators to tap into their sense of humour in a way that will get students engaged. The comedy made it easy to have an interactive session where there was

Deb St. Amant facilitated Workshop 2E Joining the Circle: An Educator’s Toolkit to Support First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Students. By having the conversations about First Nations issues that affect students, educators are better able to assist them with resources. Pride, identity, and racism were discussed in the context of building relationships with First Nations students and family in order to have healthy schools

Alan Richardson & Sandra Crockard hosted Workshop 3 A Peer to Peer—An Initiative in Whole School Health & Wellness. This interactive workshop sought to show how student-led mental health and wellness programs can be implemented. Community engagement is essential to moving past mental health stigmas and the best way to do that is by having students make the connections in the community.

Christine Klaasen facilitated Workshop 3B Teenagers, How to Love Them In: applying a mindful, restorative approach to practice. Restorative practices were at the center of this workshop in terms of modifying the discipline model. In this workshop, the participants learned how to change their language to be more restorative as well as how to stay calm during tense moments in the classroom. Lastly, teachers were shown how to deal with the toughest students without the usual discipline.

Marbella Carlos hosted Workshop 3D Body-based Bullying, Social Media and Eating Disorders. Social pressures are difficult to escape especially because of the use of the constant use of social media which impacts the body image of youth. Through the interactive workshop, participants learned how to have these tough conversations with their students. Addressing body-based bullying makes it easier to ensure that all students celebrate physical diversity.

Linda Primier, Collette Chalmers, Bill Urwin, and Philip Popcock facilitated Workshop 3E Making the Spectrum Digital; Preparing ASD learners for the new workplace. The Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board created a program to help students with autism. They used iPad technology to help students build their own digital portfolios. The technology is also used to help student who have different learning styles.

As we have seen with all of the topics that were discussed, they are not easy to talk about which is why we need to create spaces that allow these dialogues. In addition to the workshops, the two keynote speakers– Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt and Dr. Ashleigh Molloy–brought the themes of the conference together. Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt shared her knowledge on promoting equality, mental health awareness, and anti-bullying resources. It is inevitable that there were many points that educators will be taking back to their schools and communities. She is an example of how personal experiences are important in helping to build your identity. Dr. Ashleigh Molloy was successful in engaging the crowd. His energy kept the crowd attentive and eager to participate as he delivered his message.

We can only grow if we communicate with each other and learn as a result. As education keeps moving forward and adapting to the 21st century, we all must learn to be part of the change. Recognizing the past needs in education in relation to the present and future needs are essential in becoming successful educators!

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The 20/20 Student Stream focused on digital citizenship, mental health & wellness, and diversity & inclusion. Students and speakers were encouraged to be engaged, ask questions, and share their thoughts on these matters that are becoming increasingly important in the education system. Their insight was helpful in creating a safe space where new ideas could be discussed without judgement.

The initial portion of the conference consisted of presentations on digital citizenship. Social media and its proper use was the center of the dialogue between the speakers and the students. Since we cannot avoid growing use of digital media, it is crucial that we learn how to use it effectively. We need to control it rather than let it control us. Caroline and Kimron made this message clear and students agreed that social media has become a part of their every day lives whether it is on their phones, tablets, or laptops.

The next theme of the conference was health & wellness. Jaqueline brought up chi gong as a new topic for the students to learn. She emphasized how it has helped her in mindfulness and then went on to guide the students to how it is practiced. The students were engaged by talking about how they deal with stress and later mentioned how relaxing the exercise was for them. Matt was the second speaker on health & wellness. His sense of humour was engaging for the students and he also had them move around and get to know each other. Throughout his presentation, he kept the students motivated and eager to listen for when he shared his personal stories.

After lunch, the students moved on to our diversity & inclusion workshops. Jason led the discussion by getting everyone pumped up and sharing stories with an anti-bullying message. He shared why he believes sports are essential in promoting inclusivity.

The Harmony Movement workshop led by Punita and Koryn gave the students activities that dealt with diversity and inclusion. They had insightful conversations about prejudice, stereotypes, and icebergs. Yes, icebergs. As Punita and Koryn mentioned, you can only see 10% of an iceberg while the other 90% is under water. The same goes for people. There are many things that we can see, but there is much more beneath that we don’t know unless they tell us. Their exercises were informative and interactive making it a great end to the conference.

Everyone who came to our conference made a difference. It was great to see students who wanted to participate and learn. These are the strong leaders we need to build safer schools and communities.

–“I can bring more information back to my school, for myself about mental, physical, and social awareness.”

–“This conference has taught me about many topics that I find are important in my life and I can apply info I have learned into my life.”

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SHE Leadership (Support Her Efforts)

On November 30th, Canadian Safe Schools conducted its very first SHE (support her efforts) Leadership event. What is the event all about? Well, when we were first planning SHE, we envisioned an event where SHEs could get inspired in order to focus on their inner attributes and validations above outer expectations and demands. However, by the end of the event we realized it was something bigger than that; SHE became a platform where youth were able to feel connected to one another, inspired, and motivated. SHE had become a nexus where all the girls, speakers, and teachers were able to celebrate their SHE hood. It was beautiful to see girls of all ages, backgrounds, and dispositions come together to find common experiences, and through that related to each other. We realized that by providing these girls a non-judgmental, trusting, and supporting space, they were able to unfold their hopes, experiences, believes, attitudes, goals, and beauties in front of everyone. Also, by doing so, they were able to feel more confident, inspired, and

There are many contributing elements that made SHE what it was: our sponsors, TD, our supporters, M.A.C cosmetics and Panago Pizza, our wonderful speakers, and SHE Shares.

Our speakers were absolutely inspiring, raw, and, altogether, so phenomenal. They were successful women from diverse backgrounds and careers. Their broad diversity allowed every SHE to resonate with at least one speaker, if not all! Moreover, all the speakers gave a unique insight to SHE-hood by sharing their authentic experiences with the world. They touched topics related to confidence, love, goals, beauty, authenticity, patience, hard work, and believing in yourself. They were supportive role models and, all together, great human beings. If you wish to know more about our speakers please  click here

Lastly, according to the students, “SHE Shares” was the biggest hit of the day. SHE Shares was the part of the event where the kids could go up on stage and share an accomplishment. Something they overcame because they decided to be authentically themselves and believe in their own potential and self-worth. It resulted in tears, laughter, strength, connection, support, and encouragement. We saw a sort of resilience that we didn’t expect, we saw their strength, heard their stories, and got inspired. They showed how brave they were; they showed us the beauty of vulnerability, and most of all they showed us that they just need a space to express themselves, and once they have that, they will shine.

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On the 6th of October, Business owners, School Administrators, Policy Advisers, Lawyers, Deputy Chief, OACP youth committee and Educators, came together to discuss the different perspectives on the legalization of Marijuana. In a short time, big chances are coming to Canada! We realized that the mainstream dialogue on legalization somehow has not deeply discussed how this step m
ay affect youth safety and progress. Therefore, Canadian Safe Schools Network dedicated a whole day investigating how these changes may affect educators, students, and safe schools. In addition, we also discussed what steps law makers and educators have to take in order to successfully and safely conduct this major change-

We would like to thank all our speakers and delegates for coming together!
In order to fully understand an issue, one has to look it from all sides in all perspectives. So, thanks to our diverse and well informed speakers, we were able to exchange knowledge and insight from all sides!
If you did not attend our conference, do not worry, you have not missed out!! Our speakers were kind enough to post their presentations and thoughts


The M-Word conference description

Cannimed- Brent-Zettl

Nazlee Maghsoudi

Stephanie Young

Rebecca Jesseman

Judith Renaud Speech


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This August Mike Wilson of The Ultimate Leafs Fan  hosted the 3rd annual Night For Change. The annual event raises funds and awareness for the work we do with youth in and around bullying, and LQBTQ youth. We were so honoured to have in attendance Bobby Orr #4, Derek Sanderson, Rick Vaive,Phil Esposito and Flames’ captain Mark Giordano…. and of course the one and only Brian Burke. The event this year was a two parter with an intimate lunch with Mr. Orr and then our regular Night for Change event. We raised much needed funds to help launch 4 new programs in 2016/2017.

Not to be outdone this year Mike also surprised us with Tim Hicks a true Canadian country star!

Stay tuned for more exciting news and be sure to join us at our next event!

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The Canadian Safe School Network would like to give honourable mention to the following Safe Schools Story Book Contest submission.  Here is a beautiful story by Alex of Highland Creek P.S. Alex’s story about the importance of kindness teaches a lesson we can all learn from.  Thanks for sharing Alex! Keep up the great work!

The Commitment of Kindness

By Alex

DRINGGGG! The bell rang as Kai ran hastily towards his mother holding his teddy bear by the arm. Suddenly, he tripped on a crack and started to tumble. The bear flew out of Kai’s arm and into a puddle in front of him. Kai got up and retrieved his worn out teddy bear and started to walk towards his mother with a frown. “Are you okay, honey?” asked his mother as she took a glance at the teddy bear. “The teddy bear I’ve had for all my life just fell into a puddle and got ruined,” Kai muttered. “It’s okay, I’ll get you a new one,” his mother replied. They headed off to the teddy bear store. Kai still holding his teddy by the arm, he entered the store. “Welcome to Teddy Bear Land, my name is Tina and if you’re looking for anything specific or have any questions, feel free to ask,” said the young lady. “Sure,” his mother replied. “This bear can be customized to your liking and you can interact with it through an app on your smartphone,” said the lady. Kai snatched the bear off the shelf and asked his mother if he could get it. “This one is a bit pricey, how about we keep looking…” his mother replied. Strolling down the aisle they came across another bear that looked exactly like the one Kai had just grabbed, yet cheaper. “This one, I love this one, it’s perfect,” said Kai. Leaving the store with the teddy bear, all Kai could do was smile.

He bolted towards his room with the biggest smile on his face as he set the bear on his bed to change. Then suddenly a note appeared in the bear’s hand. Kai removed the note and read it, “In order to keep me you must perform one act of kindness a day for the next 7 years. If you are not able to complete this mission, I will disappear and you will never see me again, but if you choose to perform more than one act of kindness per day you will be granted a wish in the near future.” Kai looked frightened and knew if he didn’t start now, he would never see the bear again. He started by helping his mother with the dishes. Kai was an overachiever so he didn’t stop there. He then went out and shoveled the snow, not only his but also the neighbors next to him and their driveways were twice the size of his. Kai wasn’t tired yet so he kept on shoveling and shoveling, until eventually he shoveled all of the driveways on his street. He was so exhausted that he could barely walk back home, when he arrived at his door steps he noticed that the sun had already gone down and it was time for Kai to call it a day.

The boy continued this routine for the next 7 years and has never stopped smiling since. But the boy was no longer a boy any more. He was now 15 years old. It was a warm summer day as Kai got out of his bed and noticed that his bear had disappeared. He ran rapidly down the stairs looking everywhere, but had no luck. Then he made his way towards his parents’ room hoping that they had misplaced his teddy bear. Making his way towards his parents’ room he noticed a bright light coming out of his room that made him squint. He was so amazed and wanted to check it out. Approaching the door Kai noticed that the light seemed to dim down, so he raced into his room thinking that it was just the light shining through his window but it wasn’t. It was an oval shaped hole in the wall that looked like a portal. The hole started to get brighter and smaller. Thinking that it was all a dream, Kai started to slap himself until his bear and a girl that looked very familiar jumped out of the portal and grabbed Kai by the arm. It struck him, that the girl was the one from Teddy Bear Land who greeted him and his mom when they went to the store 7 years ago. “Are you the lady from Teddy Bear Land?” asked Kai with a questioning look. “Don’t worry about that right now, we must leave, follow me,” said the still young lady. “Wait where are you guys taking me?” Kai questioned. “You were one of the few people who managed to complete the mission and the bear has been monitoring you since the day you got him. No more questions. We must leave now or else we’re going to be late,” she replied. Grabbing Kai by the arm, they jumped into the portal. Kai was astonished. In front of him was an enormous city floating on a cloud that seemed like the futuristic version of New York City. It was filled with activities all around, and they headed towards the futuristic Empire State building. Looking all around Kai saw a gigantic billboard that read, “Welcome our hero!” with a picture of Kai on it. Kai though he was famous here. He was more than famous, he was a hero. The acts of kindness that Kai had been performing for the past 7 years has been powering their world. “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.”-Aesop

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Last Thursday, June 2, CSSN visited Mountain View Academy in Calgary Alberta to ask their grade 10 and 11 students for some help.

The Safe Schools Hackathon program uses a ground up approach to learn about social media and cyberbullying directly from those who know it best; students. The Hackathon program engages students in a discussion about cyberbullying, encouraging them to share their own insights based on what they’ve witnessed or experienced online.

We then invited students to pull out their phones. Although Mountain View Academy has a ‘no phones in class’ rule, we got an exemption for this unique learning opportunity. Students took a different look at the apps they used most, noticing commonly used features such as menus, buttons and icons. The program outlined the initial stages of app design and taught students how to develop wireframes and storyboards.  Teams of students were then given time to conceptualize their own apps that could help put an end to cyberbullying. At the end of the session 4 clever concepts were presented.

Each idea suggested offered educational tools and ways of coping with online bullying. A vote was had to determine the winning team, and we are proud to congratulate Emily, Taylor and Suweyda on their winning concept!

The curriculum for the Hackathon program was put together by safe school experts at CSSN and the team at Lighthouse Labs who provided valuable input on app design.

Over the summer CSSN will continue to develop the Safe Schools Hackathon program with the goal of visiting more cities across Canada next fall!

For more information on cyberbullying check out our resource:

IMG_7673 IMG_7674 IMG_7675

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In high school, the month of June means many things. Although summer is around the corner, this is one of the most stressful time periods for students and educators alike. Exams, projects, university applications, all pile up. It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth (12 – 19) are affected by a mental illness or disorder. This includes anxiety, stress, and depression. The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million. The Canadian Safe School Network and YYoga want to encourage high school teachers and students to relax, breathe and restore their mental health during a month long wellness campaign.

Presenting: Crunch time!

For the month of June we’ve created tools to help students de-stress, stay focused, and engage in practices that enhance wellness. The Crunch Time Campaign includes a comprehensive educational resource (in print and online), a series of ‘how-to’ yoga videos, discounts at Yyoga studios, and crunch time yoga events specifically for educators!

The Resource

Yoga in particular is an invaluable wellness practice. Yoga offers extraordinary benefits to both mind and body and can lead to a healthier, more balanced life.  Because of its tremendous value and connection to various aspects of our lives, yoga is woven into each of the 6 main focus areas that comprise the Crunch Time resource.

1. Stress & Burn-out: Learn about how stress affects your body and tips for managing stressful situations.

2. Time Management: Determine what your biggest time wasters are, and set goals to stay on task.

3. Exercise: You know it’s good for your body, but what else can exercise do for you? Find out more.

4. Nutrition: As the old saying goes, ‘You are what you eat’.  Learn about which foods can help you to become a more focused and stress-free student.

5. Sleep: Here are some reasons you should be getting more of it, and tips for catching more Zz’s.

6. Mindfulness: What is it, and how can it change your brain? We’ll fill you in on the importance of the present moment and ways to practice getting there.

Each focus area provides explanations, key definitions, fun facts, tips, and points for reflection. Also included are insights into the advantages of yoga as well as short videos to teach you postures and poses that will help guide your practice.

The Promotions

Drop by any YYoga location and menion ‘Crunch Time’ to receive the following fantastic discounts:

Intro discount – YYoga Introductory offer of 30 days for $40.

Educator discount – 15% off of our 5 class pass, 10 class pass and annual pass

YYoga Student offer –  $99/month pass for unlimited access to all of our YYoga facilities. (Regular monthly cost for a membership is $120/month)

The Events

Stay tuned throughout the month of June as we announce events happening at YYoga studios in Toronto and Vancouver specifically for educators. Based on the Crunch Time Resource, we will present yoga classes featuring poses and techniques related to time management, stress & burn out, sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness, as well as tips on  applying yoga and breathing to the classroom setting. We will be announcing details for these summer events soon!

This month, don’t let Crunch Time get you down. Let the Canadian Safe School Network and YYoga help you feel great and perform your best!


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With the legalization of marijuana officially on the table, questions about what that means for the nation are cropping up quicker than dispensaries across Toronto.  As politicians debate the issues, we’re left to ponder what’s to come…how and where will marijuana be sold? At what age can you purchase marijuana?  And perhaps the most pressing and controversial question of all: how will this impact the nation’s youth?

When it comes to the rights and best interest of youth, there’s quite a bit of contention among the experts.  While some emphasize the harms of use on cognitive development and mental health, others advocate for the reform of laws, arguing that the impact of criminalization on youth trajectories can be far worse than the impact of use itself.  Perhaps the greatest stakeholder of all in this discussion is schools.  Schools, whose main responsibility it is to protect and educate youth, will soon face increasing pressure to respond to new laws about marijuana use, policies, and education in schools.  But what will legalization mean for students, teachers, and the school community? Educators are left with a slew of questions such as:

  • What policies should schools have in place regarding use?
  • How should marijuana be discussed and taught in classrooms?
  • How far from school grounds will dispensaries be allowed to stand?
  • What are youth’s legal rights surrounding marijuana use?
  • What are the legal ramifications of illegal use or distribution?
  • What might the potential benefits of legalization be for schools?

Soon there will be inevitable changes to the national landscape, and schools will be expected to adapt.  They’ll need the knowledge and tools to respond to issues of illegal distribution, medicinal use, illegal use, and more. They’ll need to evaluate current policies and practices and make the adjustments they deem fit. They’ll need to reconsider the way they educate youth about the topic, while evaluating their capacity to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students.

We here at the Canadian Safe School Network realize how important it is to be prepared, and that’s why CSSN will be hosting, “The M Word: Exploring Perspectives on the Legalization of Marijuana and Safe Schools” in both Vancouver on October 5th and Toronto on October 6th.  Join us as experts from across sectors, including government, law enforcement, education, the cannabis industry and mental health, offer their perspectives on the impending legalization of marijuana and how it will affect students, educators, and safe school communities at large.  We’ll provide insights, answer questions, and promote discussion so that educators may feel better prepared for what’s to come.

To learn more about the Toronto conference or to register click here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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